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Author Topic: What size wire?  (Read 971 times)
jackhartjr
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« on: June 08, 2009, 12:21:02 PM »

Hi folks, not bus related...yet...it will be when I start running wire for the bus.
We have a 22 foot Oday sailboat.
What sized wire would you use to make a run 35 feet from the breaker to the top of the mast for the LED anchor light and about 25 feet for the two LED spreader lights?  None of the three lights use many amps.

Would you use stranded or solid wire?  I want to have a little current drop as posible.

Thanks in advance.

Jack
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2009, 12:24:31 PM »

Hi Jack,

It would really depend on the amp draw of the LED head but, if it were me I would run 16ga. THHN stranded or marine stranded.

Good Luck
Nick-
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Utahclaimjumper
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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2009, 12:52:50 PM »

You could even use 20 or 22 GA. with no more amp draw that an LED takes.>>>Dan
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« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2009, 01:10:02 PM »

Jack, There are several issues with wiring in Your sailboat mast.  Some masts have a built in conduit to run wires in.  There is always the possibility of Your wires getting snagged by Your halyards etc.  Use only stranded wire and marine wire which is tinned.  You can buy it on ebay for about a fourth of the popular marine stores prices.  Even with shipping it is far cheaper.  Try to twist the wires if no conduit to keep them as one unit.  Good luck, John
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WEC4104
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2009, 01:17:37 PM »

Normally, the first things everybody looks at in sizing wire is the amp carrying capacity and the voltage drop.  With the low power LED lighting, this may become more of a secondary concern.  

As Dan points out, you can get by with a pretty small gauge. However, I'd go up to the 16, for the added strength of the wire.  I think with the heavier wires you are more likely to find stuff with with an insulation suitable for outdoor use to handle the weather and UV.
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jackhartjr
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2009, 02:05:46 PM »

Thanks for all of the replys.
If I am reading this right...I can't use to large a wire...in other words if I was to go with even a 12 gauge I would be OK...right?
As to the mast, it is hollow all the way through except where the spreaders cross.  I plan to run the wire, then put foam up either end of the mast, the kind kids play with in pools, it will eliminate the 'wire slap'.
Thanks again.\
Jack
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mikelutestanski
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2009, 04:04:50 PM »

Hello:  Larger wire is fine with the only problem which might occur is the connection between the led fixture and the wire. The device builder will not usually provide a larger connector than is required to hold the cost of the fixture to a reasonable amount. Also profit is involved.

       Regards and happy bussin
      mike
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2009, 04:59:22 PM »

Two really good places to buy marine wire are skycraftsurplus.com and genuinedealz.com.

Genuinedealz.com is a little more expensive than Skycraft, but they have free shipping so worth it on a small order.  You most often have to call and order on the phone with Skycraft as they have more marine wire than shown on the website.

Genuinedealz is also on Ebay (They started on Ebay.) and I think the prices are the same.  Pacer Marine (pacermarine.com) will also sell direct via telephone or FAX.  They used to supply Genuinedealz, but Genuinedealz switched to Ancor.
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« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2009, 05:41:46 PM »

From what I am picturing the wire is essentially dangling and bearing it's own weight from the spreaders down.  It would be preferred to have some way of anchoring it at a few points inside the mast. If this is not possible, then I would be very careful about the point at the top that supports the weight.  Certainly don't want it pressing against a sharp edge in the mast.  At a minimum, reinforcing grommets, or some way to distribute the load over a smooth surface or gentle curve. If it is going to break or wear through, that is probably the location.
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